honoured

I spent last weekend in Massachusetts at the wedding of two dear, dear friends. It was a beautifully idiosyncratic ceremony (the ring bearer was their dog), and a great reception followed. If I ever get married, I too want to have a contra dance (or perhaps a Scottish country dance) afterwards.

Since the wedding, I’ve been thinking a lot about love. It’s never really what you expect when it hits you, is it? And sometimes you don’t see it until it’s gone. E and K are very lucky to have recognized it in each other. And I am lucky too – for T, for my family, and also for E and K. Friends like these make the world a better place, and they don’t appear every day.

Anyway, the title of this post – I was honoured (I can think of no other word to describe the feeling) that E and K asked me to read a poem as part of their ceremony. (I realized afterwards that I was, in fact, the only man with a speaking role in the ceremony.)

The Summer Day – Mary Oliver

Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean-
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down-
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.

I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

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